Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said that if the United States decided to supply Kyiv with longer-range missiles, it would cross a “red line” and become “a party to the conflict” in Ukraine.
In a briefing on Thursday, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova added that Russia “reserves the right to defend its territory”.
Washington has openly supplied Ukraine with advanced guided multiple launch rocket system (GMLRS) rockets, which are fired from high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) launchers and which can hit targets up to 80km (50 miles) away.
“If Washington decides to supply longer-range missiles to Kyiv, then it will be crossing a red line, and will become a direct party to the conflict,” Zakharova said.
US officials say Ukraine has promised not to use US rockets to strike Russia itself.
HIMARS launchers can also be used to fire longer-range ATACMS tactical missiles, which can have a range of up to 300km (186 miles). A senior Ukrainian official declined to say on August 19 whether Kyiv now had ATACMS.
There has been no full public explanation of an attack on August 9 that hit a Russian air base at Saky, around 200km (124 miles) from the nearest Ukrainian-controlled territory, on the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014 in a move not recognised by the international community.
Ukraine has requested and received large quantities of weapons from the US and other Western allies to help it resist the Russian armed forces that were sent into Ukraine in February.
Moscow says it sent troops to prevent Ukraine from being used as a platform for Western aggression and to defend Russian speakers. Kyiv and its Western allies dismiss these arguments as baseless pretexts for an imperial-style war of aggression.
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